In 1961, segregation seemed to have an overwhelming grip on American society. Many states violently enforced the policy, while the federal government, under the Kennedy administration, remained indifferent, preoccupied with matters abroad. That is, until an integrated band of college students — many of whom were the first in their families to attend a university — decided, en masse, to risk everything and buy a ticket on a Greyhound bus bound for the Deep South. They called themselves the Freedom Riders.
From May until November 1961, more than 400 black and white Americans risked their lives — and many endured savage beatings and imprisonment — for simply traveling together on buses and trains as they journeyed through the Deep South. (Photo: In Anniston, Alabama, an angry mob stoned and firebombed the Greyhound bus holding some of the original Freedom Riders.)
Find inspiration in their story, as the Freedom Riders managed to bring the president and the entire American public face-to-face with the challenge of correcting civil-rights inequities that plagued the nation.
AMERICAN EXPERIENCE “FREEDOM RIDERS” Ch. 5.1- Tuesday 2/7 at 7:00 pm; Ch. 9.1 – Sunday 2/12 at 8:00 pm